top of page

Kokanee await anglers

By Jerrod Gibbons

Okanogan Valley Guide Service

Spring is finally here!

Everyone is starting to get the bug to get outside and get out of their winter routines. Temps in the mid 50’s to 60’s have the birds talking!

Geese flying north, robins showing up in our yards and turkeys starting to gobble with the warming weather. But before we can start hunting the spring turkeys on April 15, we have some fishing that needs to be done.

One lake that stands out to me is Spectacle Lake located 15 minutes northwest of Tonasket.

With an April 1 opening date, we can get the boat out and chase the Kokanee!

With Kokanee being planted in 2014, Spectacle Lake now has a good established population. Fish ranging from 10-15 inches with a few that are 17 inches!

With this lake having other species in it, it is still full of rainbow trout that have an average of 10-12 inches.

Kokanee are the fish of preference for me. Having bright orange meat, it keeps us coming back.

So enough about the lake, lets talk how to catch these fish.

Terminal trolling gear

I start out with a four or six-inch dodger made from Rocky Mt Tackle. Color combos on those that have silver, pink and purple have always been the best for me.

Behind that, we attach two different lures. One side of the boat we will have a Liminator made from Money Maker tackle in the color of Halographic Pink and another in the color Purple Poka.

Switching to the other side of the boat we will run Kokanator lures also made from Money Maker tackle in the colors of Cotton Candy and Sunkist.

Now it is very important on leader lengths that you put behind your dodger.

The rule of thumb is two-and-a-half times the length of your dodger, that will be you leader length.

So if your running a four-inch dodger, your leader then would be 10 inches. Now this would be from the swivel of your lure to the head of your bait. This allows the dodger to give ample action to the lure that is following it. If the leader is to long there will be now action to the lure, and in hand, no fish will be biting. After we have our dodger and our lures attached, we apply white shoe peg corn to the hooks. Now running strait corn out of the can has proven to work in the past, but we have also found better ways to increase the catch! Curing the corn!

Money Maker has come up with a Corn Cure that not only gives your bait a different color in red and orange, but also gives off a natural scent of krill! This makes your bait last longer (months) in stead of days and increases your catch percentage. Last but certainly not least is adding a masking scent to the bait if needed. Sometimes the Kokanee are not on a krill scent bite. Some times they like corn scented in anise or even garlic.

Look to add to your arsenal a scent line made from Super Dipping Sauce!

They have a line of proven fish catching scents that flat out produce. Adding a few of these like the Kokanee/Sockeye, Anise or Garlic could change a day around in a hurry. Simply take your lure with one piece of corn on each hook and dip inside the scent. Hold over the boat and fish! Now with everything ready to go. This is how you present your gear.


Early in the season the water is cold. The ice just came off the lake and some of the bugs are hitting the water bringing the fish up to the surface.

With Spectacle Lake being a clear lake, it seems having a boat going over the top seems to spook them. So, when fishing, make sure to have your gear back at least 50 feet. This gives the fish time to settle down and come back to the area you just trolled through.

Trolling speeds of .8 to 1.2 are the speeds I like to run. I get my speed off my fish finder that has a GPS on in.

Now for those who don’t have a fish finder with GPS, Lure Jensen has a speed indicator. This device attaches to the side of the boat, and a ball and string you throw over the side shows exactly your trolling speed.

Depth to fish

Trust your fish finder if you have one! On a Lowrance, kokanee show up as orange and yellow arks. This is because of the air sacks in their stomachs and they seam to swim in schools. While I use down riggers, I place my gear 3 feet above where I am seeing them on my graph. Kokanee and many other trout species look up when they feed. Placing your gear just above where you see them will trigger more strikes.

Now once you start catching fish, take note of what speed you were going when you caught your fish. Where you trolling straight? Where you turning to the right and your inside rod hooked up or was it your outside rod that hooked up. Little things like this will tell you if you are trolling to fast or to slow. Inside rod hooking up on the turn means you are trolling to fast going straight. Outside rod hooks up means your trolling to slow going straight. Adjust your speed to how the fish react.

I hope this article improves your fishing! If not, there is a guide that you can contact directly to show you first hand.

— Okanogan Valley Guide Service can be reached at 509-429-5199 or via email at Find this fishing tackle at



bottom of page